The Western Australian Government’s announcement of a snap three-day lockdown for the Perth and the Peel region means that events will not be held and facilities will be closed over the ANZAC Day long weekend - although scheduled major sporting events will go ahead without fans.
For the second time in less than three months, around 2 million Western Australians are in lockdown with the lockdown to start at midnight. The lockdown comes after a COVID-19 cluster was identified at the Mercure Hotel Perth on Wednesday, with the virus spreading among quarantining guests in separate rooms.
As a result, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan this afternoon announced that people can only leave home for work (if they cannot work from home or remotely, essential shopping, accessing medical services and outdoor exercise, but only with three other people and limited to one hour a day.
A range of venues and businesses have to close during lockdown including:
• Aquatic and indoor sporting venues including gyms
• Playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor recreational facilities
• Cinemas, entertainment venues
• Libraries and cultural institutions
• Religious venues
• Restaurants and cafes (but they can still open for takeaway)
• Pubs, bars, clubs and the Perth casino
Weddings and funerals can still go ahead, but they can only have a maximum of 100 people (not including staff) and masks must be worn.
The lockdown is set to impact sport and events scheduled for the long weekend with AFL, NBL, Super Rugby and several festivals scheduled in Perth.
The Fremantle Dockers were set to welcome more than 40,000 fans to Optus Stadium on Saturday night for the 25th anniversary of its Len Hall Tribute match but the match will now be held without fans with only players and officials able to attend.
The Docker’s opponents North Melbourne had just landed at Perth Airport on Friday afternoon when news of the impending restrictions became known.
Players from the Victorian-based AFL club were led from the tarmac to the terminal in intervals to minimise contact with airport staff and the public after being cleared to enter the state.
Events scheduled for tonight will proceed with thousands of rugby union fans set to descend on HBF Park (maximum capacity 20,000) in East Perth for the Western Force’s crucial match against the Queensland Reds at 5.45pm.
Perth Arena will also be hosting thousands of fans for the 7.30pm tip-off between reigning NBL basketball champions Perth Wildcats and the Brisbane Bullets.
However, Premier McGowan said he discouraged people from attending, and masks would be mandatory at both games.
The two Queensland clubs and Victorian AFL team would face nervous waits before they know when and under what circumstances their respective states would let them return home.
The inaugural Chicken and Beer Festival at Subiaco Market Square this long weekend has also been impacted by today’s announcement. The festival’s four sessions over three days are now subject to the state government’s lockdown measures, which means only Friday night’s 6-hour session could go ahead.
At this stage, the lockdown is only expected to last for three days.
Image: Optus Stadium and the Perth skyline. Credit: Optus Stadium.
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